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Top seed North Carolina survives scare

Mar 29, 2008 - 8:55 PM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- LaToya Pringle scored 27 points as top seed North Carolina rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat No. 4 Louisville, 78-74, in the semifinals of the New Orleans Region on Saturday.

After Louisville cut a 10-point deficit to 76-74 in the final minute, Pringle hit two free throws with 25 seconds left to seal the win.

The Tar Heels (33-2) rallied from a 37-19 hole with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half to advance to a regional final for the sixth time in school history.

North Carolina, which captured its only national championship in 1994, has won 24 of its last 25 games, including 16 straight. The Tar Heels face Louisiana State, a 67-52 winner over Oklahoma State, in the regional final on Monday.

North Carolina overcame a spectacular game by Louisville's Angel Mccoughtry, who scored 35 points on 14-of-31 shooting and also grabbed 13 rebounds.

The Cardinals (26-10) were playing in a "Sweet 16" for the first time in school history.

North Carolina closed within 46-37 at the intermission, then clamped down defensively in the second half, holding Louisville to 28 points.

The Tar Heels took the lead for good at 59-57 on Jessica Breland's layup with 8:44 remaining.